Virtual vs. Onsite & Tips for Success
It's safe to say that the Covid-19 pandemic radically changed many aspects of our day-to-day lives, and the recruitment process is no exception. While we still rely on traditional face-to-face interviews in some instances (more on that later!), the number of virtual interviews has risen dramatically in recent years.
In fact, according to one study, 88% of employers say they have conducted video interviews. While in-person interviews are making a comeback, you should be prepared for both formats. With some planning and practice, you can ace any interview – virtual or onsite.
Your QA/RA In-person Interview
It comes as no surprise that companies are still eager to meet potential talent in person. After all, this way interviewers have an increased awareness of the candidates’ body language and facial expressions, and also have the chance to get into more in-depth conversations. But when it comes to any interview, preparation is key.
Here are our top tips for nailing a face-to-face interview:
Travelling to an onsite interview has lots of variables, so it’s important to think about logistics! Be sure to confirm the interview time, location, parking availability, and who you’ll be meeting with. Once you have this information, a great idea is to use an app such as Google Maps to plan your commute to the interview. Ask yourself questions such as:
“How should I get there?” You might opt to take a taxi, bus, walk or drive.
“How much time should I allow myself?” We recommend arriving at the building 15 minutes before the interview. Don’t forget to allow some buffer time when relying on public transport!
“What do I need to bring?” Some people like to bring a copy of their CV for the interviewers, or a notepad to write down information. You might also like to take a bottle of water.
Another important aspect of face-to-face interviews is how you present yourself. Decide what to wear ahead of the interview, and figure out what’s appropriate depending on the type of job you are interviewing for. Presentation is key to making a great first impression!
When you get there:
Once you arrive at the location, don’t just wait in the lobby! Make the team aware of your arrival. You don’t want your phone to ring in the middle of the interview, so put any devices you have on silent mode to avoid interruptions.
Put your best foot forward:
During the meeting, the interviewers will be taking note of your body language, confidence and presence. Be sure to use this to your advantage to show your engagement. For example, if you are a natural fidgeter, try to avoid this by crossing your hands. Once you meet your interviewer, greet them with a firm handshake, eye contact and a warm smile. This will make a good impression!
Show off your personality:
Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t show off your personality. The great thing about face-to-face interviews is that the interviewing panel can get a real sense of your character, so don’t be scared to connect with them through common interests and backgrounds. If anything, this will help you to stand out among other applicants! It’s important to remember that while the company needs someone with the technical ability to do the job, the interviewers will also be looking for someone they can build a great working relationship with.
The final moments:
Once the interview has ended, shake hands with the interviewer. Be courteous and thank them for taking the time to meet you.
Your QA/RA Virtual Interview
Sometimes candidates can fail to prepare correctly for virtual interviews. While the process is very different to that of a face-to-face interview, being organised is just as important! One interesting point about virtual interviews is that the candidate is equally responsible for a smooth interview. When you attend an on-site interview, the onus is on the interviewer to facilitate this. But when you’re interviewing from your own chosen location, it’s crucial that you think about securing a quiet area, having a charged device and ensuring a stable internet connection.
Test your tech:
Nothing derails an interview faster than technical glitches, so check your devices ahead of time! Ensure your Wi-Fi connection, webcam, microphone and audio are working properly. If you are using an application (e.g. Zoom, MS Teams or Google Meet) that you haven’t used before, we recommend giving it a test run in advance. Perhaps you could set up a call with a friend or family via this application and check the sound, camera etc.
Whether you’re using a virtual background or the real thing, make sure it’s appropriate and free from clutter or distracting elements. Pay attention to the lighting – you want a professional aesthetic on camera. Position your webcam at eye level, and make sure your face is visible and well-lit.
The interviewer may only see a portion of you, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look the part. Often candidates can approach virtual interviews more casually from a clothing perspective, but we recommend dressing for a virtual interview as you would for a face-to-face interview. You'll feel more confident!
Your body language is limited here, but there are still some things you can do to make a good impression. You can build rapport by making steady eye contact with the webcam, as you would for an in-person interview. Just like on-site meetings, reduce fidgeting as much as possible. Remove any distracting materials on your desk so you’re not tempted!
Don’t get distracted:
Close other programs and tabs, and put your devices on silent. If there are other people nearby, warn them in advance that you will be having an interview. You could even hang a "do not disturb" sign, if needed.
You might want to have some reference material nearby. Having your CV, a notepad, examples and notes nearby can be helpful, but try to avoid shuffling papers on camera.
Give yourself time:
Just like the face-to-face interview, it’s important to join a few minutes before the scheduled meeting to allow time for any technical issues that may arise. If this happens, don’t panic! We recommend having the interviewer’s email address to hand in case you experience any difficulty joining the call. If you encounter issues during the call, politely ask the interviewer for a moment to troubleshoot or switch devices, if needed.
For virtual interviews it is important to allow enough time in advance. In our experience, interviews can often take a little longer than expected, so don’t have any commitments in the 30-45 minutes after the expected end time. Though technology is incredibly advanced these days, there can be lags which result in people talking over each other. If this happens, let the interviewer know and try to allow appropriate time between people taking.
Interview Best Practices
Whether you’re onsite or dialing in, some best practices will always apply!
Here is a list of our top tips for nailing that interview:
Thoroughly research the company, role and people you'll be meeting with. Having some background demonstrates interest.
Be your most confident self and express interest in the role throughout the conversation. Smile and make eye contact!
Practice responding concisely and confidently to common interview questions. Don't leave it up to chance.
Provide clear examples that showcase your skills, achievements and qualifications for the position. Focus on demonstrating your unique value.
Prepare questions to ask your interviewers in advance. You might want to ask about the company or culture, for example.
Whether you have an upcoming virtual or in-person interview, preparation is key. By following these tips, you can enter any interview with confidence and put your best foot forward.
If you're seeking a new opportunity in a growing company, be sure to check out the open positions on our careers site. We have a range of great roles available and a fantastic culture that values our people. If you’ve got any other questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Talent Acquisition Team will be happy to help.
Best of luck with your upcoming interviews!